Do you really need APQP?

The Indian Automotive SME market is a challenging industry to be in and does it really need to follow APQP? . Every year there a host of new technologies and processes that are developed and for adopting them one has to be constantly on their toes. APQP or any quality related process in the industry is primarily customer driven. ISO standards are routinely demanded and many Indian SME’s comply , my humble experience so far has been that compliance is almost never in spirit but mostly just for certification purposes. Talk APQP and most Quality engineers will rarely be able to define or design an end to end plan.

The Structure of APQP


Do you really need APQP
So what exactly is APQP. So if you need a small primer basically APQP is designed to offer the users of respective products with utter satisfaction by creating the perfect plan. And now for helping the companies or an individual to become an expert with this process, there are organizations giving professional training of APQP. To know more about such courses you can look at the following or similar Please note I am not selling these courses through my blog I am just mentioning them for your convenience.

So in spite of creating a conceptually perfect plan and in this overly dependent era of APQP, manufacturers are still facing regular problems. Actually, we all know that there is a lot of differences in theory and the practical implementation in any subject. In that case, APQP is also no exception. Here I attempt to introduce you  to some of the common problems related to APQP and how can you overcome those issues.

Reality Check of APQP Implementation:

Theoretically, if we read or talk about this process, it basically has no flaws and it works as the perfect communication process between the customer and the business owner. It can bring along the product needs of the customers, thus  manufacturing and delivering the products with utmost perfection.

But the reality is something else. APQP, in practical, is truly difficult to manage and it is also a resource expensive procedure. The first challenge that the manufacturers face while its implementation is building a connection between the several links of a supply chain. Some parts of this chain may seem to be insignificant to the suppliers; but when it comes to a complex automotive system, even the smallest of smallest parts has huge impact. That’s why the development of a sophisticated amalgamation within the supply chain becomes a necessity for every industry to achieve the perfect product goal.

Supply Chain

Supply Chain
The next crucial issue that comes forth during this method is the right communication and collaboration between the departments of an industry. While developing a product, different teams start working on it – starting from engineers, manufacturers, marketers to operators. So, to achieve perfection in the product development, it is essential to build up the right collaboration between these departments; until and unless communication becomes clean within the industry, it always remains tough to achieve the goals and to achieve right communication having right tools is paramount.

That’s why before implementing APQP successfully, certain things are needed to be taken care of like:

  • Creation of such a culture within which the internal departments of a company can effectively communicate to the external suppliers who will help in implementing the plan, because they know your customers the best.
  • Setting the goals and meet them in time.
  • Making sure that your product has as few problems at all, which in result, reduce the risk of late product launch or any other issues related to that.
  • Having the right tools to communicate , track and follow a plan across departments.

But APQP is done in different phases from where innumerable data are collected. And at times it becomes a burden to keep track of those records and over reliance on excel sheets is a bane in the industry. Once you lose the track, both communication and product-development become tougher.

Different Phases of APQP

Different Phases of APQP
And now I am sure that after becoming aware about the major issue related to APQP, you want to know the solutions as well. But what are the main reasons why you would implement APQP I will try to address that next. For some interesting reads see what challenges Toyota faced. And here is a live example for you where one of world’s biggest car owners, TOYOTA came across problems related to APQP.

Stay tuned with us for more such updates. We will get back to you soon!! Till then chalk out the problems your industry might be facing while implementing the Advanced Product Quality Planning. Well so back to the question I started does the Indian Automotive Industry really follow APQP ? Let me know your thoughts. I will release a small survey result from answers I receive.

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